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“looks can be deceptive” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Hana Palace Caruso Hotel

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El Hana Palace Caruso Hotel
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Blv 14 Janvier 4089, Port El Kantaoui 4089, Tunisia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 36 Hotels in Port El Kantaoui
Margate, United Kingdom
1 review
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“looks can be deceptive”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

I booked my week long stay just 3 days before I went so I did'nt get much time to research this hotel, all I knew was that the star ratings in Tunisia are not comparable to those of Europe or USA and a 5 star in Tunisia is probably a 3 anywhere else and so it seemed when I arrived at the El Hanna Palace or as it now known the Caruso Palace. The first thing to consider is that if you are infirm or unable to carry your luggage you have to walk to the hotel entrance from the busy road but the security guard will contact staff inside and they will come and help if required, for myself traveling alone this was not an issue, and it's only a 30mtr walk to the entrance. The front is'nt as smart as some of the hotels in the area, but for me that added to it's charm, I find those huge, plastic, sugar coated 20 storey'd hotels all look the same, as the song goes "This could be Rottadam, or anywhere, Liverpool or Rome"
Once inside, the foyer is airy and bright, well furnished and the marble floors and staircases are fab. so far so good, however i'm afraid to say the bedrooms are tired and dowdy, so if you are thinking of taking a female partner on a romantic holiday this may not be the place for you, although by next Autumn (2013) they should have upgraded the bedrooms and from the artists impressions i've seen they look beautiful, something to consider though is that once all the refurbishments are complete the prices will be much higher, I paid £330 for flights, Half-board, and transfers, a bargain, but next November it could be £500+. I have to say though, although tired, the bedrooms are very clean and the maids do a fantistic job and an extra towel, pillow, or toilet roll is always at hand if you ask for them, they come in every day to make the beds, clean up and replace towels if wet or dirty, and I often left money, camera or ipod outside the safe in my rush to get to breakfast and it was never touched.
I think at this stage I should mention that you have to remember that in Tunisia the average wage is 30 Dinah a week (£12) so if you want to get some personal touches and feel inclined to do it, tipping really helps, I tipped the bar staff and waiters every day, for example a bottle of beer is 3.5 dinah so I made it up to 4 dinah a tip of 20p and they will go out of there way to give real good service, but even if you don't tip you'll find it hard to get better service than here in any hotel in PEK. This hotel is well known for it's service and I can understand why.
The grounds and gardens are kept in good condition and the dining room is clean but again looking a bit tired, however the food in my opinion is very good considering the price I paid, It's buffet style and plentyfull, breakfast is normal, cereal, bread, toast, cheese, salad, yogurts etc, boiled or scrambled eggs, omlette, however remeber this is a muslim country so no bacon or pork sausages. Dinner is again buffet with loads of choices so all in all, for me the food was good, but I did hear some moans so it won't suit everyone, but if you can't find something to eat at every meal, then i'd be inclined to call that very fussy.
The room above the dining room is probably El hanna's best kept secret, it's a shame it has'nt got a bar because for luxury it's certainly in the top 5 of any hotel i've stayed in around the world, but i'll let you discover that for yourself, just to say that whilst I was there they had 2 wedding receptions for Tunisian upper class that says something.
They don't have any entertainment in this hotel, which is fine by me, but may not suit some people, and if I have a complaint the piped music in the hotel bar is dire, ellivator music at it's worst, with about 20 tunes that repeat endlessly, they had a 40inch tv with MTV on constanly but with the sound on mute, we asked for the hotel music to be turned down and the tv to be turned up but they refused which we found odd?
If you want entertainment there is some ok bars and clubs close by, there is an Irish bar in PEK but its only Irish in name you wont even get guinness in there but a good place to watch footy or F1 there is also a bar/restaurant called Mandra about a 5 dinah cab ride past PEK that has beautiful surroundings and live music and a DJ, however on a fridays & saturdays it's full of wealthy Tunisian men who are looking for any western women they can their hands on, and on that subject you need to be aware that single western women are vunerable to lots of attention out there, and some of it is'nt nice attention, but a firm NO is all it takes if don't want it, and if you do want it, and believe those good looking exotic men are very romantic, be prepared to be the one who'll be paying the bar bill at the end of the night!! Tunisian men believe all western women are loaded.
I would certainly be happy to return to the El Hanna/Curoso, its perfectly placed between PEK and Sousse and if the sun shines you'll find it hard to beat for a winter holiday.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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231 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (103)
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Coventry
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

Where to start with this hotel. Arrived on 4 November to beautiful sunny weather for a week at the El Hana/Caruso. The first problem was the coach couldn't go down the drive because of the arch so had to unload bags on the main road with traffic rushing by. Not a good start. Nobody from the hotel came out to help which is very unusual in Tunisia so carried our bags to reception where there was no staff to greet us at first. Finally they came and we were given our rooms. The first impression of reception is fine very ornate and clean. Went up to our rooms (422) and first impression as we got out of the lift was the awful dirty carpets. The carpets in the rooms were not much better and although the rooms are large the doors and windows were wooden and didn't lock. Yes there is that large bath but its a novelty because it is so high its like an assault course to get in or out unless you have long legs. It also takes about 30 mins to fill. We requested other rooms which was no problem as there were hardly any guests - we were told 30 !!! - so we changed. We were given rooms facing front/side of the hotel 365. The first thing we noticed were better carpets and the landing was a lot cleaner and lighter. The rooms were again very large and we had a convential bath which is what we wanted. Although the patio doors were pvc they didn't lock either but decided you cant have everything.

The other let down with this hotel is the food in the dining room. Most of it is cold. You might get the odd dish that is hot but the rest is cold. The actual food was ok but was let down by not being hot and if you went in for dinner say an hour after the dining room opened (7 - 9) it was running out of choice and they were not replenishing it. Maybe because there wasn't the volume of guests it didn't justify filling up after a certain time. So if you want choice and hot go early i.e. as it opens.

The pool and beach area are great and the staff around the pool always friendly and will have a banter with you. We were the only two on the beach and it was lovely fine sand and peaceful to have it to ourselves.

The next draw back is the postion of the rooms to that side of the hotel. They are facing a Tunisian residential property and they are building another which is not too bad as they start at 8 and finish around 4/5 so thats acceptable BUT the family who live in the house have a cockrel and its crows constantly through the night you can't even shut it out because the windows are wooden not pvc so dont stop any noise. So be aware if you are in those rooms you will be kept awake. When we thought we had seen it all one morning there was something hanging from the tree in the garden of the residential property- a sheep which they were in the process of slaughtering and skinning !!!! We know it happens but dont expect to see if from your balcony on holiday.

I have been going to Tunisia for 25 years and have been in many hotels in that time and many of them 4/5 times. When I read some reviews I wonder if they are going to the same hotel as me because some people alway need something to complain about but for once in all that time I have to say this is the wrost hotel and I would never recommend it to anyone. It has the 4* symbol over the door but it certainly isn't more like 2*. I think they are in the process of doing repairs etc but it will take a long time to get this hotel to anywhere near a 4* El Hana/Caruso you let Tunisia down when it needs all the tourists it can get. I will keep going to Tunisia but will not be going back to this hotel.

Room Tip: Overlooking pool but certainly not 365 area to the front/side of the hotel
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami Beach, Florida
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

It´s amazing how the new owners have restored the hotel.
It´s truly a palace, the construction is maybe the coolest I have seen and it will be interesteing to see it next May when we return. Still some shaping up to do, but if you keep this in mind and not expect a 5 star hotel, this is the most priceworthy hotel in Tunisia.
No doubt.
Big recommendation.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wokingham
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

Excellent staff and public areas. Food good but restaurant lacked atmosphere. Rooms good sized and well positioned but very tired and in need of maintenance. Shower ran hot and cold. Fittings broken which caused flooding in the bathroom. TV had only two english channels which just ran films. Safe cost 2 Dinar a day. Unstocked fridge (a good thing in my book). Beds on the hard side.
Good pool area, clean and well staffed. Small dirty beach next to hotel which you could clamber to, but not nice. 15 minute walk to Marina which was clean and modern if very 'tourist'. 5/7 dinar taxi ride to Sousse. Just a couple of restaurants and mini marts near by. I would suggest half/full board if you don't want to go to the Marina to eat.
El Han could, so easily, be a really nice hotel. We enjoyed our stay but it could have easily been so much better.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hammam Sousse, Tunisia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

A friend of mine recommended this hotel to me recently as she had been there and loved it herself.
We only stayed for one night due to other commitments, but i will be staying here again!
The rooms are clean, large and nicely decorated, with plenty of linen, and the bath is a must - I'll miss that bath!!
Staff are friendly and approachable. Food is at a good standard with a lot of choices.
The pool and beach are clean and have plenty of space with no hassle. Very close to Kantaoui, and other places if you want to venture out.

A lovely place! - will be back soon!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Little Kimble, null, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

Stayed here in 2003 and loved it. Returned Oct 2012. It is a little shabby compared to our last stay, the rooms have had a make over but lost something of their original character. Food ok but not as good as last time. That said, we had a wonderful time. The pool and sea view are amazing. The staff can`t do enough for you, the climate is perfect. If the hotel is a little quiet, it`s a short walk into town where you can find plenty of night life. Perfect holiday for relaxing, plenty to see and do if you want and cheap. Would I go again?...You bet!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dundee, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2012

We decided to holiday in Tunisa as were so bored with the regular package holiday to Spain, Turkey etc.

We really enjoyed ourselves. The weather was great, and everything was so cheap. The only thing we had a problem with was the food unfortunately. Mayo seems to come with everything!

El Hana Palace is a lovely hotel, with very attentive staff. We had a great time. I probably wouldn't recommend this hotel to families though, as there is no entertainment, music etc. However, peace and quiet was exactly what we were looking for! However, we were a bit upset that the spa was in the process of being demolished. We weren't told about this before we booked.

The breakfast was excellent every day. I think this is the first holiday I have been on where I have actually shed a few pounds! We had fresh fruit and cereal every day, and the quality was very high.

The pool area was great, very quiet and very clean. No one hassled us, and whenever we wanted a drink we were served very quickly. Tipping is important, and really makes the difference on the length of time you wait for your coffee!

The rooms at the hotel were nice and clean, and the marble made a big difference to the overall appearance of the hotel. We would definitely come back to Tunisia and wouldn't hesitate to recommend this hotel.

We went on a trip to El Djem, which we loved. We also went to a mosiac museum which was really interesting. I would recommend EVERONE go on the buggy ride, as it was so much fun. We were actually driving on main roads! (very odd driving on the wrong side!). We saw parts of Tunisia normal tourists would never see.

All in all, an excellent holiday. We were very pleasantly surprised.

Jo and Neil (Dundee)

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Hana Palace Caruso Hotel

Address: Blv 14 Janvier 4089, Port El Kantaoui 4089, Tunisia
Location: Tunisia > Sousse Governorate > Port El Kantaoui
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Romantic Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#8 Spa Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#11 Luxury Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4.5 star — El Hana Palace Caruso Hotel 4.5*
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Also Known As:
Hotel Hana Palace
El Hana Palace Hotel
Hana Palace Port El Kantaoui
El Hana Palace Tunisia

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